COTT Oil & Gas has signed up Wison Offshore and Marine to prepare a concept study for a floating LNG vessel to be used on Papua New Guinea’s Pandora gas fields.

The Concept Study is expected to outline a potential FLNG concept that would be appropriate for the resource, location, gas composition and expected production rates of the Pandora gas field.

It is expected to be wrapped up by the end of April, Cott said in an announcement.

A positive outcome from the study would prompt the Pandora JV to start pre-front end engineering and design work.

Cott managing director Andrew Dimsey said the company was delighted to establish a commercial relationship with Wison.

“Wison are using proven LNG and offshore technologies and a highly experienced offshore engineering management team with its own shipbuilding capacity,” Mr Dimsey said.

“Wison’s expression of interest validates Cott’s view that the Pandora gas fields are suitable for stand-alone development using floating LNG technology.”

In addition to determining the economic viability of an FLNG concept at Pandora, the study will also provide preliminary advice and recommendations on alternative concepts, minimum storage requirements, sea states and mooring requirements, offloading options, gas pre-treatment and processing, support infrastructure and vessels, indicative capital costs and operating costs as well as financing options.

Wilson approached Cott after the Perth-based company was awarded a 40 per cent stake in PRL 38 at the end of 2013.

Wison had won the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning contract for a FLNG liquefaction and storage vessel from Exmar.

The company is building the vessel for the Caribbean LNG project off the coast of Colombia, vessel at its Nantong yard in China.

That vessel is expected to cost between US$300 million and US$600 million per tonne per year of liquefaction capacity.

Mr Dimsey has previously said he believes there is logic for an FLNG development.

‘Recent developments in mid-scale FLNG technology and the current demand for LNG in the Asian market indicate that a 1 Tcf resource in an optimal size for a 1-2 million tonne per annum FLNGT project,” he said.

“The gas is strategically positioned so that is can be aggregated with any of the current or proposed LNG projects or developed on a stand-along basis.”

The Pandora gas fields are located about 200 kilometres west of Port Moresby in the Gulf of Papua and comprise two discoveries and several prospects at a water depth of about 110 metres.

The gas fields are strategically located close to major regional and North Asian gas markets and the relative accessibility of the gas combined with its rapid deliverability have been touted by Cott as a f lexible source of high margin production.

The other participants in the JV include Kina Petroleum and operator Talisman Energy Niugini, each with a 25% stake while Santos subsidiary Barracuda holds the remaining 10%.